Creating an email campaign

To create a new Ortto email campaign:

  1. On the accessed the Campaigns page.

  2. On this page, click New campaign.

  3. On the New campaign page, click Email to begin creating your email campaign, followed by Next.

Email campaign wizard pages

This section describes each successive page of the email campaign creation process.


On the Setup page, specify the following details:

  • Give the campaign a name - this is a name that can only be seen by your team and should be used for internal reference.

  • A/B test campaign - you can test different subject lines, preview text, from names and content.

    A/B test campaign can be combined with Translate campaign (you can select both). If both features are selected, you will need to create translated subject lines or content designs, depending on your A/B test configuration.
  • Translate campaign - this appears only if you have a language chosen under Setup  General  Language  Translations. If selected, you’ll translate the email message subject and content into the selected languages for recipients who have chosen them as their preferred languages. Email message translation is performed using display conditions (Liquid syntax) in the Design step. Learn more about translating email message content.

    Translate campaign can be combined with Open rate optimization (you can select both). If both features are selected, you will need to create a second subject line in the selected languages.
  • Write a subject line for the email - after you finish writing your subject line the Ortto AI will automatically suggest improved subject lines. If you like a suggestion just click on it to change your existing subject line. You can also click the AI button to switch off subject line suggestions.


    You can also insert fields or activity’s attributes (merge tags) into the subject line:

    1. Click the merge tag icon - anywhere you see this icon you can add merge tags.

    2. Select either a recent merge tag, a field or activity attribute to add.

    3. When you select a field or attribute you will be shown example of possible values and given the option to add a default value in case the value is empty.

  • Set the preview text - this step is optional but recommended. This is the preview text a recipient will see in their email client and can entice them to open the email along with the subject line.

  • Enter a From name - the is the name of the person sending the campaign. We recommend using a real persons name from your business to make the email more personal. You can use Merge tags like "Owner name" to personalize the From name for each individual recipient.

  • Enter a From email address - this is the email address the email is sent from and by default the email address that will receive replies. You can also set a specific reply-to address. Merge tags can also be used in this field e.g. "Owner email address" to personalize the email for each individual recipient.

  • Optional CC/BCC - we support the addition of CC and BCC. You can add multiple people to CC or BCC with comma separation.

  • Add reply to email - the reply to email gives you the opportunity to specify a reply address that is different from the from email address. This is helpful if you want replies to go to another inbox.

  • Show advanced options:

    • Delivery load distribution - you can rate limit the email delivery and extend your send time by up to 48 hours. Rate limiting the email send to a large recipient base can help you manage expected recipient responses, such as a high website or call center demand following an event announcement. Learn more about rate limiting under Delivery load distribution.

      Delivery load distribution can be combined with Open rate optimization (you can select both). If both features are selected, the email resend will commence 24 hours after all rate-limited emails have been sent.
    • Open rate optimization - select the checkbox if you wish to send the email again 24 hours later with a different subject line if unopened. If you choose not to select this feature, you can resend the email manually after 24 hours (within 30 days of the original send date). Learn more about resending an email under Viewing an email.

      email resend
      Your chances of unsubscribes and complaints will increase if you resend a campaign, so use this function wisely. Lean more about complaints, sender reputation and email deliverability, under Improving email deliverability.
    • Set UTM tracking preference - UTM help you track traffic to your website by appending information about the campaign to each URL. If this option is on we will automatically add UTM to all links in the email campaign. Learn more about how our default UTM tracking works.

    • Reactions - Reactions are ON by default. They show 5 emoji in the footer of your email campaign allow people to react and comment on your campaign. This can provide not only valuable feedback and overall sentiment of a message but can dramatically reduce unsubscribe rates. Learn more about reactions.

    • Attribution - each email campaign is set based on your default attribution settings. However sometimes it won’t make sense to track attribution towards orders if you’re emailing about registering for an event. In this case you can set a custom activity and its attributes as the attribution activity to track in reporting. Learn more about attribution.


On the Audience page, select either an audience or subscribers, subscribers with a certain tag, or a group of filtered people. You can only select a single audience, tag or filter.


On the Template page, select a template based on a particular use case or one of the simple layout as the basis to build your email. By default each template is themed based on the settings in your brand book. You can select previously saved templates by tabbing to "Saved templates".

Alternatively, select HTML upload to upload a custom HTML file containing your email message content, including any Liquid syntax you wish to use. If your HTML file is valid, you will continue to Review.

  • If you selected to A/B content test the campaign during Setup, you will need to upload 2 separate HTML files. Only one HTML file can be uploaded at a time.

  • Once your HTML file is uploaded and you have been taken to the Review tab to view a preview of your email, you are currently unable to edit the email message content. Should you wish to edit the content, you will need to edit your HTML file and return to the Template tab to re-upload it.

Learn more about the HTML email upload, including prerequisites and troubleshooting under Custom HTML email template upload.


On the Design page, the email editor helps you add content and allows you to drag and drop content and images directly into the template. If you have an e-commerce data source connected you will see additional content blocks you can add to your emails including products, recently browsed items and information about the last order.


There are several other functions in the email editor you should become familiar with:

  • Preview - this displays a preview of the email on both desktop and mobile.

  • Send test - this sends a test email to your email or other emails you specify to check the email displays correctly in your email client.

  • Save as template - if you like the email design you’ve come up with and want to use the layout again when you create your next email you can save the email as a template. This won’t interrupt your campaign workflow.

  • Merge tags - this brings up a dialog that allows you to add variables and activity attributes to your email.

    If you are selecting an activity attribute as your merge tag, we will use the latest activity for that person (contact). However, if you are editing a journey or playbook email message, and the entry criteria is of type X activity occurs, then we will use the activity that caused the person to enter the journey/playbook instead (for playbooks this needs to be configured in the playbook details panel under More  Activity personalization), even if more activities have occurred since then.

    The activity must have occurred within the last 30 days to be available. If you require the value to be available beyond this, we recommend saving the value into a custom field and use this as your merge tag instead.



The Review page steps helps you double check you have the correct audience, campaign settings and all of your links are working as expected. If there are links that aren’t working they will be shown as errors and clearly marked for review. You can go back to any step or switch between steps by using the menu in the footer.


Send now

If you wish to send the campaign immediately you can use Send now. After a confirmation the email will send immediately. Send times will vary based on the audience size.

Schedule the campaign

The email campaign can be sent immediately or scheduled for a later time by selecting a date and time for the campaign to start sending. Learn more about how to schedule your email campaign.

If this is your first email campaign, in particular if you are new to Ortto and have recently created an/signed up with an account, your details and Ortto account itself may need to be verified (and therefore "trusted") by Ortto. Learn more about this process in Untrusted accounts.

Translate email message content

If you selected in the Setup to translate your email content to other languages, you will need to use merge tags and Liquid syntax to ensure the message content is conditionally shown to recipients in those languages.

Ortto does not translate message content for you; you need to write any text content in the relevant language. For example, an email campaign that supports both English and Spanish languages will need to have subject lines and message text written in both English and Spanish. The relevant message text must be surrounded by conditions which determine that English readers see the English text, and Spanish readers see the Spanish text.

There are a number of ways you can set language conditions.

In the text boxes, create conditions to determine what content users see, depending on their preferred language. You can combine all language conditions and text content within a text box, such as if you want to write greetings in different languages.

english spanish syntax

You can frame content with Liquid syntax in text boxes to show different content depending on the language. In the below example, the campaign is setup to translate to Spanish, so using the syntax displayed, English readers will see the top image, but Spanish readers will see the bottom image.

syntax framing

You can also set conditions for an entire row. To do so, click on the row, then in the Rows settings on the right, click Add condition. Enter your name, description, and before and after conditions, then Confirm. The row is now set to display to recipients with the preferred language you specified.

lang row condition
lang row condition 2

Other handy operators for your conditions are or and contains, such as:

  • {% if people.language == 'en-us' or people.language == 'en-gb' %} Display content for all English (US and UK) readers {% elsif people.language == 'es' %} Display content for Spanish readers {% endif %}

  • {% if people.language contains 'en' %} Display content for all English (US and UK) readers {% elsif people.language == 'es' %} Display content for Spanish readers {% endif %}

Learn more about using merge tags and Liquid syntax, including the values for each supported language, under Translate campaign content with Liquid in Personalizing campaign content with Liquid.

Message content will only be shown to recipients in their preferred language if you use merge tags and Liquid syntax to conditionally show the content in the specified language. Otherwise, if the person has no preferred language set, or their language is not supported in the email, they will see content that is presented in the default language you set under Setup  General  Language  Default. Any text not contained within language conditions will be presented in the language it is written in to all recipients.

Footer links will be presented in the languages the campaign supports. That is, if the campaign is set up to support English (US) and Spanish languages, recipients whose preferred language is Spanish will see the footer links in Spanish, where other recipients will see it in English (US).

If a person’s preferred language is not currently supported for translation (such as Chinese (Singapore) zh-sg) and contains a value that is (the base value for Chinese zh), it will fall back to a supported value (Chinese (simplified) zh-cn or Chinese (traditional) zh-tw).

Delivery load distribution

When setting up delivery load distribution, Max recipients per batch is the maximum amount of people that will be in a batch. For example, if you have an audience of 750 people, a maximum of 500 will be in the first batch and the remainder in the second.

Due to the way Ortto handles message delivery, the minimum rate limit you can set is 500 recipients every 5 minutes. Should you wish to rate limit the send further than Ortto’s minimum limit, you could consider splitting your campaign audience into two, and rate limit the send to each audience, one after the other.

Automatic UTM parameters

By default we append sensible UTM attributes to each email URL to help you track the performance of your emails in solutions like Google Analytics. When this option is turned on (recommended) the URL will look like this:

Each parameter is set by default as follows:

  • source = autopilot

  • medium = email

  • campaign = email campaign name

This option should be turned off when using custom UTM parameters.

Email campaign reactions

In the past email metrics were relegated to opens and clicks. But just because someone opened and clicked on your campaign doesn’t mean they like it. Reactions give you an entirely new email metric that we call sentiment. Sentiment will tell you if subscribers are Positive, Neutral or Negative on your email campaign content.

There are several benefits to reactions and sentiment:

  • Get constant feedback on your email campaigns beyond open and click metrics;

  • Dramatically reduce unsubscribe rates - people often choose to react negatively as opposed to unsubscribe giving you a chance to improve your content; and

  • Stay motivated with positive feedback about your content.

Reactions are on by default when you create a new email campaign.


When the subscriber clicks on a reaction they are taken to a hosted page


This hosted page is controlled via your brand book settings. We record their initial reaction and then give them a window of time to change it and leave a comment before recording the result in the email campaign report.

The reaction report looks like this


Schedule the email campaign

When creating an email campaign, you need to configure an audience, tag, or filter, consisting of subscribers/members of people to deliver your campaign to.

If you choose to schedule your email campaign instead of delivering it immediately, then the subscribers/members of your email campaign’s audience, tag, or filter may change, grow, or contract between the time your campaign is created and the time your campaign is scheduled to be sent.

Therefore, Ortto automatically updates the people who will receive your email campaign, based on the subscribers/members of your campaign’s audience, tag or filter, at the time your campaign is due to be sent.

Every email provides the ability for a subscriber to opt-out, and the standard Ortto email footer offers different unsubscribe links.

There are two unsubscribe links the subscriber will see depending on who the email is sent to:

  • Unsubscribe from all emails

  • Unsubscribe from this list

When you send an email to a group of subscribers using a filter or a tag we include an option to Unsubscribe from all emails. When clicked the subscriber will be globally unsubscribed and you will not be able to send them email unless they opt back in.

When you send an email to an audience that is included in the email preference center the unsubscribe link changes to "Unsubscribe from this list". If they unsubscribe they will only be unsubscribed from that particular audience but can select to unsubscribe from all emails in the preference center.

Custom HTML email upload

The custom HTML upload feature is designed to make it easy for you to upload email message content if you have a lot of emails prepared in HTML format or you are transferring your email content from another platform to Ortto.

Email messages added to journeys and playbooks can also be created using an HTML file.

HTML email upload prerequisites

HTML email files must meet the following prerequisites:

  • You need to be on a paid Ortto plan with the custom footer feature. This is because the HTML upload creates an email without Ortto’s default footer.

  • An HTML email file cannot be bigger than 500KB.

  • If the HTML file contains Liquid tags it must contain a {{ urls.unsubscribe }} tag to include an unsubscribe link. Learn more about using Liquid syntax in your campaign content under Personalizing campaign content with Liquid

  • The HTML file you upload must meet the multipurpose internet mail extension (MIME) standard, containing only plain text and/or HTML encoding.

HTML email upload troubleshooting

This table lists some common issues you may encounter when uploading an HTML file for your email message content, and tips for resolving the issues.

Issue Resolution

Uploaded file is too large

Each HTML email file must not exceed 500KB.

Uploaded file is NOT of a valid MIME type

The HTML email file you upload must meet the multipurpose internet mail extension (MIME) standard, containing only plain text and/or HTML encoding.

Invalid Liquid tag/tags

Should your HTML email file contain invalid Liquid syntax, an error message will display the invalid entries. Learn more about using Liquid syntax in your campaign content under Personalizing campaign content with Liquid.

No multimedia file upload for HTML content

At present, Ortto does not offer multimedia file upload for content such as images contained in your HTML email file. You need to host the images/video, etc. external to Ortto and link to it within your HTML file.